Aa
A
A
A
Close
Women's Health Community
65.6k Members
Avatar universal

Foul Gas x 1week before mentrual period every month

I am 32 y/o female 5'7", 150lbs, 2 children and happily married. I do not take any medication or BC pills. I have minimal stress. (many blessings!)My problem: Every month approx one week prior to onset of my period...I experience horrible foul smelling flatulence.  It is embarrasing and needless to say hard to ignore. 3-4x times a year it is accompanied by severe and sudden onset diarrhea, migraine, and other common PMS symptoms.  In researching this topic, I find much on PMS symptoms and treatment...but little mention of this particular problem other than "IBS" or "bowel changes". I do not have mood swings (even husband agrees) but, I am often more tired, clumsy-(I drop things), stutter, and have uncomfortable back pain DURING my period.  What is causing this smell? I am not kidding when I say it is THE foulest odor you can imagine and for 3-4 days of the 1 week it is frequent. Obviously, I try to "hold it in" if in room with others and it is not explosive but, it is so foul I even wake up in the middle of the night because the smell has woken me. I have what I would consider "normal" gas normally.  Please help...I want to know the specific physiologic reason it occurs and what I can do about it.  Thank you.
88 Responses
Avatar universal
Sounds like you need to see a specialist possibly a gastro or digestion doctor.  I would usually say it's due to what you've eaten the night or day before, at least that's what it is for me, but if it's every month, then I don't know what it could be.  If it is bothering you as much as it sounds like, I'd definitely see a doctor about it.
Avatar universal
I stumbled across your post and I too suffer from similar symptoms.  I have THE foulest smelling gas the week or week and a half leading up to my period.  It is most of the times accompanied by loose stool, sometimes diarrhea.  Outside of this time period, I too have normal gas odor and stool.  It is tolerable now simply because I am single, but if I were married or dating it would be completely misearable.  I have considered seeking physicians advice, but wanted to research it a little further.  Have you had any new updates?
Avatar universal
For the women writing about the foul smelling flatulence...here's some advice from me...I have been a pharmacist for 13 years:  You can try taking over-the-counter magnesium supplements...400mg a day a few days before you usually have this problem.  There are also other over-the-counter odor reducers available, but most of them contain chlorophyll (which is a natural substance that makes all green plants green...and is a natural do-odorizor)...but magnesium is a main component of chlorophyll, so it works just as well and is inexpensive. Magnesium is very safe to take.  In fact, if you don't eat enough greens, you may be slightly deficient in this essential mineral, although most doctors aren't aware it, or don't think it is important.  They can only measure magnesium levels OUTSIDE your body's cells, which may be normal, but INTRACELLULAR magnesium may still be low.  There has been research to study if the US should put magnesium into the grain supply, like it does many other vitamins and minerals, to ensure people get enough.  Cardiology doctors often prescribe their heart patients to take magnesium because it is essential for our cardiovascular systems to work.  It works great, and you can buy it anywhere, usually as magnesium oxide.  It will not stop the gas, but it will de-odorize it.  Also be aware that foul smelling gas is often the result of eating too much processed foods...if you try to eat natural it won't be as bad.  Good luck!
Avatar universal
I just posted the comment about the magnesium...and if you want you can type in "magnesium" and "odors" or "deodorizer" into the internet and see lots of info on it!
Avatar universal
Hi..It's been awhile since you posted.  Did you ever receive any anwers about your "monthly issue"? I have the same symtoms every month, including the studdering.  Just looking for answers!  Thanks!
Avatar universal
I have a similar problem...not the foul gas but definitely smellier than usual.  Also, the day of my period I get severe diarrhea.  I've never even had cramps before, so this recent condition seems very strange and I can't find any information to tie diarrhea to menstruation.
Avatar universal
I can't offer any help...but if there is strength in #'s I'll help make you stronger;)  I'm 45 and I've had that problem, well, forever.  It is about a week before my period...and you are not kidding...it is sulfurous gas.  I have several theories.  First, I'm wondering about endometriosis...possibly some endometrial stroma glands in the colon that are playing with the balance.  Secondly, strong downward engergy (Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine) that compounds things.  Thanks very much to the magnesium poster...I'll definitely give that a try.  If nothing else, it makes one look forward to menopause ;)
Avatar universal
I too have EXACTLY the same symptoms.  I will give magnesium a try as well.  Has anybody had any luck with it?
Avatar universal
I, too have the same problem, although lately it seems like more than just that week!!  If indeed there is a magnesium problem, isnt magnesium tied to calcium absorption?  and if so, then we are all not getting enough calcium!    My Grandmother had this problem too, as I recall, and she ended up with severe osteoporosis.  also, I do have endometriosis, but who knows what causes this...I have always maintained that it is the hormones we produce around our periods that causes the reaction.  
Avatar universal
We've been married for almost 6 years now, and I've been very sensitive, understanding, and supportive so far, but it is getting old.

I hope someone can find a cure to this issue because it is really starting to irritate me.  My wife says she isn't aware of the exact moment the gas is being passed!  This just sounds rediculous to me because I've had many years of passing gas.  I know when it is developing, when it is building, when it is unbearable and when it NEEDS to get out!  So when I hear her say, " I can feel it " really shocks me and pisses me off.

I don't want to sound like a complete ***, but my patience is running down and out.  To top it off she doesn't seem to want to try anything that might help the situation.  I'm also getting angry that I wasn't made aware of this before we got married.  It wouldn't have been a deal breaker, but it would have been nice to clear the air. (punn intended).  I feel some resentment developing in my gutt.  This whole thing may sound a little shallow and immature, but I didn't have anything hidden from her about my body.  From the jokes between her and her best friend, I know that she has had this issue for a long time-even before we got married.

signed,
Frustrated and fed up.
Avatar universal
You will pleased to hear that I have found the cure.  About 10 days before your period is due cut out milk and everything that contains milk - butter, cheese and the numerous things that contain milk powder.  This includes goats milk and other types.  I am English and so have tea with milk but I still have this because it is against the law not to.  Margerine made with 100% sunflower oil is a good alternative to butter.

The thing with milk is that in your stomach it reacts with the acid and turns into a cottage cheese like consistency and ferments, which causes gas.  I don't know whether this is made worse in the lead up to a period because we have more of an acidic environment in our gut because of hormones or whether out digestion is slower but whatever the reason it works.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on.
Avatar universal
Thanks to everyone who has posted about this I am very grateful.  I have been too embarrassed to ask anyone about it and was very happy to find this discussion. I am only 18 and just started having this problem about two months ago. I never had this happen to me when I was younger.  I will try to avoid milk, I do eat a lot of dairy.  If anyone else has had other treatments that work, I would appreciate the help.  
Avatar universal
Hello folks!

                Cant thank you guys enough.I am about to get married,and i always was paranoid abt the whole flatulence thing.Shall try giving up milk products and include Magnesium.Pls lemme know if someone comes up with a remedy.Thanks a tonne
                                                                       sam
Avatar universal
I was just reading about endometriosis the other day and I found that it is known to cause painful periods, digestive problems including gas (if it is intestinal endometriosis, where cells of the uteran lining begin to migrate to areas of the GI tract), dizziness and clumsiness around the time of your period, severe cramps, bloating, etc. and roughly 10 percent of women have it! That's a lot...
Here are some links:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/endometriosis/DS00289

http://www.infertilityphysician.com/endometriosis/intestinal.html

I also like what our pharmacist friend had to say about magnesium. I know that most people don't get enough organic, nutrient laden, fresh, raw greens! That's our best bet for total nutrition, so  be sure to eat your salads ladies!
Avatar universal
I would have to disagree with the magnesium suggestion. I started taking calcium (500 mg) with magnesium (250 mg) 2x a day about 6 months ago. I too have this gas issue about a week before my period. This issue started about 3 or 4 months ago and that was with me taking magnesium. If anything, the magnesium increases my intestinal activity because if I forget to take it for a couple days I become constipated. I'm really hoping to find an answer for this because it's beginning to affect my romantic relationship with my husband.
Avatar universal
I have had huge success with gas odor control with activated charcoal tablets.  It doesn't reduce the bloating though.  For bloating, Gas X or other OTC Simethicone medicines helps some. I have found better relief with 1tbs raw apple cider vinegar in water (I know...its amazing though!). Reducing sodium has helped too. My theory is that hormones throw-off enyme or acid production and undigested food is reaching the intestines.

Don't eat dairy while taking charcoal - it will make it useless. Take it right after you eat. Also, if you are on medications, DO NOT TAKE CHARCOAL 2HRS. BEFORE OR 1HR. AFTER MEDICINE.  Charcoal binds to toxins and will absorb your dose.  This could mean pregnancy while on the pill.

It took me a long time to figure out that it was a PMS symptom and not IBS or allergy.  This was a relief.  Now I can prepare for it. I have a reminder in my computer calendar to let me know its coming.

Hope this helps like it did for me! Certainly worth a try.
Avatar universal
This happens to a lot of women. The prostaglandins (substances that cause the muscle contractions that push out the menstrual blood) can cause intestinal spasms. This can cause bloating, flatulence, and an increased number of bowel movements.

If you start taking Advil or Aleve the day before your period starts, it'll cut down on prostaglandin production, and should reduce your symptoms. Taking Gas-X and/or a half-dose of Imodium AD may also help. Cutting back on your sodium and caffeine intake, and exercising are other self-care measures.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for this discussion. I have felt like this is just something I have to deal with, this awful gas - and I have for years. I do not eat any processed foods. I eat lots and lots of greens - I make green juices and try to have greens at either lunch or supper or both. I eat very little dairy. I exercise regualry. I feel like I just don't know what else to do. I am studying tai chi and kung fu and actually feel like I cannot attend class when my gas is so bad because I just hate exposing others to it. I will try magnesium, and charcoal, too. I'm for anything that isn't prescritpion really. I appreciate the discussion and I really appreciate knowing there are others out there dealing with the same nonesense... power in numbers!
Avatar universal
Hello, I am really confused right now. Well my first reason is because im 12 years old and im about to turn 13. My birthday is new month and im wondering iv been recently feeling cramps and not to be emberrising but a little gas. I am wondering if that is a sighn if getting my first period soon. Oh and also headachs? Please get back to me A.S.A.P, Thank you you internet friend
Avatar universal
HI Honey- I was actually reading all of these posts because of my little girl. She is 10 and has all the signs of pre-puberty. Yesterday she just could not stop "gassing us out" -it went on non-stop for hours. She woke me up in the middle of the night complaining of the gas, and a headache. I knew she'd eaten a normal diet because I've been with her all week. What made me think it was period related was that I have the exact same thing- but like so many of the previous comments, I felt like it was just me. My daughter has not started the official bleeding, but everything else seems to be mapping her a time-line. With school about to begin, I'm worried for her socially. The tips have been encouraging. I'm 42 and have asked doctors through out the years- frankly- female bodies & hormones seem quite complex for the medical world to deal with. It's important for you to be pro-active with your body, and I applaud you for reading & posting a comment.
signed- I'm just a Mom
Avatar universal
I too have this problem for a few days each month.  Absolutely foul to the point that I have to change my clothing & bedding, no joke.
I haven't had it all my life but at least the last 8 years or so. I am 41yo.
I used to get it every evening without fail & I saw a naturopath about it.  It was put down to fructose malabsorption so I eliminated fructose from my diet & it seemed to work for about 6 months.  Then it came back.
I decided to cease taking the contraceptive pill as I thought it might be related to hormones because it was always that bit worse just before my period. It worked!
I still get this foul gas for a few days each month but not for the rest of the month like I used to which is such a relief.
Therefore I do believe it is related to hormones. Hopefully there will be some research into this so we no longer have to suffer at all.
Avatar universal
@FRANKZHERE is an ***. guess what, dude? farting is normal..it is ridiculous to say u weren't aware that your wife farts!!!!
as if the stress of bloating and and more flatulence and all the other side effects of having a monthly period weren't enough, it is little boys like u that make it so hard for women. your wife probably feels too embarrassed to talk to you about it!! and of course she is- u act like a frickin moron. frankly, i hope she leaves u, u immature ***.
u'd probably kill urself if u had to deal w/ having a monthly period just because ur such a baby.
Avatar universal
@FRANKZHERE is an ***. guess what, dude? farting is normal..it is ridiculous to say u weren't aware that your wife farts!!!!
as if the stress of bloating and and a bit more flatulence and all the other side effects of having a monthly period weren't enough, it is little boys like u that make it so hard for women. your wife probably feels too embarrassed to talk to you about it!! and of course she is- u act like a frickin moron. frankly, i hope she leaves u. *******.
Avatar universal
Thank goodness for this little string of comments I thought I was a total weirdo. Some months there is the foul stench- and you better believe I just put magnesium on my grocery list- other times its just an amazing amount of essentially odorless gas. Like Ripley's Believe it or Not amazing! Seriously- a fart will be so big I can actually feel myself deflating. I'd be careful with the cutting dairy thing though- the reason we can't put down the ice cream is because our bodies are losing calcium every time we menstruate. Some researchers think that because women are having more periods in their lifetime (read: less babies, later in life) we are essentially flushing our system of calcium each month and that is what is causing osteoporosis in older ladies.
Have an Answer?
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
From skin changes to weight loss to unusual bleeding, here are 15 cancer warning signs that women tend to ignore.
Here’s what you need to know about the transition into menopause – and life after the change takes place.
It’s more than just the “baby blues.“ Learn to recognize the signs of postpartum depression – and how to treat it.
Forget the fountain of youth – try flossing instead! Here are 11 surprising ways to live longer.
From STD tests to mammograms, find out which screening tests you need - and when to get them.
Find out if PRP therapy right for you.